Jewish values restored

Is there a renaissance, a reawakening of identification with authentic Jewish values?

Rabbi Avraham Gordimer

Judaism Rabbi Avraham Gordimer
Rabbi Avraham Gordimer
Rabbi Avraham Gordimer

This article appeared on The American Thinker as a response to Steve Apfels's op-ed Jewish values gone haywire  on Arutz Sheva.

Steve Apfel’s "Jewish Values Gone Haywire" depicts Jewish people who, like members of so many other ethnic and social groups, bend over backwards to further the interests of those whose values clash with their own, and often are downright wrong. While I agree with the author’s condemnation of this tendency among some of our liberal coreligionists, I submit that we must now turn to the question of "Where do we go from here?" It is true that there is not much we can do on a pragmatic level, other than to educate that the liberalism that is rightly condemned in Apfel’s essay is not the way of authentic Judaism, but let's take a step back and reconsider the larger picture.

I addressed this overall phenomenon from a general perspective in my essay "American Jews Are Becoming More Conservative," but I’d like to now focus on some compellingly solid facts on the ground – facts that deal with worldwide Jewry and not only the scene in America.

Apfel’s essay showcased an incident in Cape Town – one of the most liberal hotspots on the globe – as well as an incident in Johannesburg. Yet by the same token, let us not forget that the immensely popular Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, is a man of squarely conservative religious (and social) values and practice, who has made great strides to lead the country’s Jewish population back to tradition and away from a “religion” of liberalism that has swept up much of the world, including both its Jewish and Gentile inhabitants.

In England, a seismic change has occurred, as Jews have aligned themselves with the Conservative Party and have abandoned the Labour Party en masse. It is not surprising that the Orthodox Jewish communities in Britain are growing, whereas the more liberal Jewish communities are downsizing.        

While Apfel wrote about Obama’s Jewish supporters, readers should note major patterns of shifting toward the Republican Party among American Jewish voters. (Also see here.) Although anecdotal evidence is of course of limited significance, I find it extremely telling that every single member of my immediate and extended family, spanning three generations and multiple lines of cousins, including all blood relatives and relatives through marriage, as well as every single Jewish friend of mine, is now a Republican -- and solidly so.

Readers are advised to examine the growing number of major and popular conservative-oriented Jewish media organs, such as Jewish World ReviewIsrael National NewsHaym Solomon CenterYated Ne’eman, MatzavJewish PressThe AlgemeinerJewish News ServiceCoalition for Jewish Values, and countless more. These Jewish media organs, plus numerous others in both online and print form, closely mirror a serious and traditional religious commitment on the part of most of their publishers and writers. On the other hand, the number and popularity of the liberal Jewish media organs are at best stagnant. The fact that most of these liberal organs so often resort to filling their pages with articles written by and about conservative-minded Jews says it all.                 

Those Jews with little or no connection to genuine Jewish values are destined to lose their way and, in most cases, to become totally detached from their origins and to be eventually rendered moot in the totality of things. The sad case of liberal Jewry’s assimilation and road to disappearance in this regard has been comprehensively documented.

Rather than focus on the unfortunate and errant path of those who have chosen liberalism over self-preservation, as we witness their shrinking numbers and importance, notwithstanding their sometimes loud voices, may we focus on those who espouse correct values, and let us do our best to promote and further their positive and worthy efforts.      

Avrohom Gordimer serves on the editorial board of Jewish Action magazine, is a staff writer for the Cross-Currents website, and is a frequent contributor to Israel National News and a host of other publications. He is a member of the Rabbinical Council of America and the New York Bar, and he is also a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at Coalition for Jewish Values, (, a national organization that speaks on behalf of what are commonly known as Judeo-Christian ethics — the moral voice of the Torah. By day, he works as an account executive at a large Jewish organization based in Manhattan. The views expressed in the above article are solely those of the writer.